Gerrard: Coutinho is magic

Steven Gerrard has hailed Philippe Coutinho as "a magical player" and a "phenomenal footballer" and says Liverpool must build their team around him if they are to be successful in the future.

The 24-year-old gave the Merseyside outfit a massive boost by signing a new five-year deal with the club this week and had been sorely missed over the past few months as he nursed an ankle injury.

The Brazilian feared that his season was over following a tackle with Sunderland midfielder Didier Ndong in November.

He only made his return to the Reds side as a substitute in Liverpool's 1-0 EFL Cup loss to Southampton on Wednesday.

And Gerrard, who has first-hand experience of the talented midfielder, having spent time in training with him, has said that Coutinho is the club's future.

Gerrard, who will rejoin Liverpool as a youth coach in February, spoke highly of the player at the launch of the Star Sixes tournament.

He said: "I think for any team you have always got to try and keep your best players and Philippe has been instrumental over the last couple of years.

"He has grown and become a world-class talent.

"I have trained against him on a daily basis and played with him and he is a phenomenal footballer. He can do magical things with the ball.

"He is the type of player you want to build your team around. And if Liverpool are to be successful in the coming years then I am sure he will have a big part to play in it.

"He is a magical player."

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